If you’ve been to San Juan Island, chances are that you’ve stumbled upon Sunshine Alley. It’s a rather nondescript pathway that shortens the trip between the main drag in town and Nichols Street, beginning just behind the gap between the movie theater and Haley’s. Mostly, it’s known as the road that leads to the public bathrooms. The town of Friday Harbor has decided that it’s worth much more than that, and is preparing to put its money where its mouth is.
Fixing up Sunshine Alley came about as many projects do – one thing got fixed, and all of a sudden, everything surrounding it just looked drab. The Friday Harbor Brickworks project, completed in June 2013, was the culmination of seven years of work by dedicated citizens who wanted a better place to gather as a community. The project transformed a dilapidated old building into a permanent home for the farmer’s market, making it possible to have it year-round, rain or shine. Learn more about that project here.
Hoping for similar success with Sunshine Alley, the town has decided to embark upon a several-part urban development plan. The recent upswing in our economy from sources like strong real estate sales and steady post-Labor Day traffic has put a little extra money in the lodging tax coffers, our “stadium” budget, and $30,000 of that has been designated for the plan. The project leaders want input from residents, business owners and visitors, and that’s where you can help.
According to a press release published in December 2013 by the town of Friday Harbor, the revival process will include interviews with those who have a vested interest in the project and open houses with the public, as well as a survey of regular users of Sunshine Alley.
“Sunshine Alley has the potential to be the heart of Friday Harbor,” Town Administrator Duncan Wilson told the Journal of the San Juans.
The possibilities for growth in the walkway are endless, and some of the proposed ideas include outdoor performing areas, water features and other artistic structures, outdoor movies and events, and new businesses that will add to the appeal of already-existing activities like the farmer’s market.
If you stayed with us and remember strolling around the alley behind Brickworks, or if you’re planning a stay, let your voice be heard. Help shape the future of Sunshine Alley. Click here to be taken to a survey. Help us define Sunshine Alley as more than just a walkway, and get directly involved in improving the beauty of Friday Harbor!